A year ago I chose a word/theme for the new year. My word for 2013 was focus.
I defined focus as:
1. An act of concentrating interest or activity on something.
2. To see things more clearly.
Choosing focus as my theme for the year helped me to concentrate on small personal goals such as developing my writing, building a capsule wardrobe and finding new ways to relax. It also led me to question a bigger, unresolved problem in my life.
A year ago I wrote, “ However, I still have a busy life and often feel overwhelmed by it... I feel I need to work smarter in my job and develop more routine and structure in my domestic life."
Looking back, I can see that twelve months ago I was dissatisfied with my work-life balance. My job although part-time (three days) was all consuming and demanded many more hours than I was paid for. Focusing on trying to work smarter at work and be more organised domestically worked to address this to some extent. But I began to find that the escalating pressures of my job meant that I was finding it harder and harder to switch off from work pressures and my hours working at home were beginning to creep up.
During 2013 I came to realise that I would never gain the work-life balance I craved whilst I remained in this job. So, a few months ago I made the decision to leave my permanent job. A risk and a jump into the unknown – I know – but also a fantastic opportunity to change direction after twenty-two years in the same profession. The decision was not taken lightly and not without careful financial planning.
Realising my permanent job was making me unhappy and deciding to leave it to pursue new direction is one more step in my journey to building a simpler and more meaningful life - a life that I want to live now, a life built upon my dreams and values, a life that has balance. It has been a frightening realisation but also an exciting one.
Choosing focus as my word for the year has helped me to see a long-term problem crystal clear. I wouldn't have dreamt a year ago that I had this courage, risk-taking mindset and openness to change or the ability to let go of the past. A year ago I had these dreams but they were lost in the whirlpool of busyness, the tide of expectations and the ripples of my self-doubt.
2013, the year I found focus.
Did you have a word/theme for 2013? How did you do?
What are your dreams for next year?